Bercovitz Law Firm, PC
Bercovitz Law Firm, PC
20 Years As An Advocate For Divorce And Family Law Clients In Greater Denver And Colorado Statewide

More on Common Law Marriage

Requirements for a Common Law Marriage in Colorado

In the State of Colorado, a couple living together in the same home for any period of time does not establish a common law marriage. While cohabitation is one of many required elements to prove that a common law marriage exists, there is no specific amount of time that a couple must live together to establish that a marriage has been created.

For example: a couple could live together for a decade, and legally remain as two single individuals. But if that same couple cohabitated for a very short period, but agreed that they were husband and wife, and presented themselves to the public as a married couple, then have established a common law marriage.

How Can I Prove a Common Law Marriage Exists?

The Colorado Supreme Court analyzed more than 100 years of cases to establish a list of what is required to prove that a common law marriage exists:

  • Cohabitation
  • Mutual agreement that they are married
  • Evidence of their mutual agreement

Proving a Common Law Marriage Can Be Complicated

The strongest evidence to prove that a common law marriage exists is a written and notarized agreement signed by both parties stating that they have established a common law marriage. Without a written agreement, the person claiming the existence of a common law marriage has the burden of proof to show that a marriage has been created. The Colorado court will scrutinize common law marriage claims, and require clear, consistent and convincing evidence that common law marriage exists.

The factors that a judge would consider when determining if you created a common marriage include:

  • Did you both live together?
  • Did one partner take the other partner’s last name?
  • Did you sign contracts together to buy a car or a house?
  • Did you file joint tax returns as a married couple?
  • Did you have joint bank accounts?
  • Do use have joint credit card accounts?
  • Do both partners refer to each other as spouses?
  • Do you share household duties and expenses?
  • Do you have children together?
  • Has one partner has claimed the other partner as a spouse on insurance documents?
  • Do the partners have joint gym memberships?

How to Avoid A Common Law Marriage Claim

Avoiding a common law marriage claim will require you to clearly maintain your single status:

  • Do not file joint tax returns
  • Do not sign an affidavit of common law marriage for any reason
  • Do not refer your significant other as a spouse
  • Make sure that your Facebook status does not say that you are married
  • Keep your own name
  • Do not set up joint bank accounts
  • Do not have a ceremony that may be misconstrued as a wedding ceremony
  • Do not exchange wedding rings

Legal Effect of a Common Law Marriage

A common law marriage is just as legally binding as a ceremonial marriage. A couple in a common law marriage has all the same rights, privileges and obligations as a married couple who established their marriage in more traditional ways. Legally there is no difference between a married couple who had a ceremonial marriage, and a couple who created their union via a common law marriage.

If You Have Questions about a Colorado Common Law Marriage

With over 20 years of experience, Elissa Bercovitz has the Colorado family law experience you need. Call Elissa Bercovitz now at 303 803-1678 for a free consultation and have all your questions answered.